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Credit Suisse's ex-Goldman Sachs technologists face a difficult future

It's an interesting time right now in banking to say the absolute least. As UBS and Credit Suisse spend until the end of the year on their merger/acquisition (depends on who you ask), the people running their computer systems are in for a tough time.

It's not entirely clear whether UBS plans to go down the long and windy road to systems integration or to simply silo Credit Suisse's markets business in a bad bank and be done with it, but any amount of integrating technology systems is challenge. Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, for example, led to years of work meshing the two banks together. Nor was it always the case that BofA's systems were dominant. - In electronic trading, for example, staff were migrated over to the Merill infrastructure but opted for BofA's execution management system over Merill's X-Trade.

If you factor in significant cultural differences between the banks, (UBS has spent years implementing Agile across their bank, Credit Suisse, not so much) the merger has the potential to get messy. UBS staff are likely to assume the main roles. - Credit Suisse's press release states that, "For the purpose of a seamless integration," UBS will "appoint key personnel to Credit Suisse as soon as legally possible."

A reminder: Credit Suisse's top tech people now come from Goldman

What does this mean for all the senior technologists Credit Suisse hired from Goldman Sachs? CS spent much of the past year adding technologists following its appointment of former GS head of EMEA tech, Joanne Hannaford as chief technology and operations officer last January.

The 14 months since Hannaford's appointment have seen several senior ex-Goldmanites join Credit Suisse's technology team. They include, for example, chief data officer Ayaz Haji, an ex-Goldman MD who was at the bank over 11 years before joining Credit Suisse in October, and Sam Da Silva, Goldman's COO for EMEA strategic locations, who joined Credit Suisse the same month as managing director and global head of engineering enablement.

Credit Suisse has also stocked up on Goldman risk professionals after hiring David Wildermuth from Goldman Sachs as chief risk officer in 2021.In London alone, there have been two significant risk hires from Goldman in 2023. Marie-Lucie Duval left Goldman after 18 years to become Credit Suisse's head of market risk portfolio management in January. In New York meanwhile, Craig Bricker left Goldman after 23 years to become Credit Suisse's head of risk analytics and solutions the same month. Jenniffer Emmanuel also joined Credit Suisse as COO for risk from hedge fund Capula in January, having previously spent 15 years at Goldman across the technology and risk departments in London.

As UBS cuts costs by $8bn, and mostly focuses those cuts on Credit Suisse, the next year is likely to be challenging with non-revenue generating roles at the forefront of trimming. Goldman's ex-technology and risk staff may come to regret their Swiss seats.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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